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For Knicks, this might be a good time for a road trip

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is seen on the

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is seen on the court with less than 15 seconds left against the Phoenix Suns during a game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

West Coast swings are not generally recommended to soothe what ails NBA Eastern Conference bottom-feeders, but nothing else has worked for the Knicks, so perhaps a trip to Sacramento, Portland and Los Angeles will help.

Not that they have any choice. The schedule calls for a game against the Kings on Saturday night, followed by the Trail Blazers on Sunday night and the Clippers on Wednesday.

The bad news is the Knicks would appear to be overmatched, at least in the second and third games. The Kings are 12-17, the Trail Blazers 24-7 and the Clippers 20-10. The latter two are a combined 25-5 at home.

The potentially good news is that with fans frustrated and journalists running out of things to ask, traveling far from home might be a well-timed respite for a team that continues to preach patience.

Not that patience is easy to come by at 5-26, but the Knicks are trying. Three examples:

First, rookie coach Derek Fisher, whose calm in the face of calamity is turning him into Zen Master II.

"Of course he's feeling it," Carmelo Anthony said of Fisher before adding, "He's not a guy who'll show frustration . . . He's our leader, so if he's discombobulated, then everybody's going to be discombobulated. So I think he's doing a great job of just staying the course and going through the journey with us."

Does Fisher ever get on the players?

"He's got to coach us," Anthony said. "We respect that. Of course as a coach, you have to get on the team for not going out there and playing well or wanting the team to do this or do that, but that's just the nature [of the job]."

Second, there is Anthony himself. At times, he has appeared willing to work within the Fisher/Phil Jackson system. At others, he has appeared to feel the need to take over the offense in the absence of other options.

He said he is trying to do the right thing.

"It's hard to say I'm going to take a game over," he said. "That's not the way we're taught to do it. That's not the system. That's not what we're supposed to do.

"If I decide to jump out of that, it makes me look crazy, just breaking the system. I just try to be patient with what we're trying to do, what we're trying to accomplish, where we're trying to go, and see what happens."

Third, there is Amar'e Stoudemire, whose production has been a bright spot this season -- at least by the very low standards of the 2014-15 Knicks.

After sitting out back-to-back "recovery" games Saturday and Sunday, he was a game-time decision Thursday and did play, contributing six points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

He is averaging 13.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 26.4 minutes, and the plan is to be extremely careful with the creaky forward.

"I think it's very important at this point in my career to somewhat find days to rest, so that way I can build strength in the weight room and continue to get stronger throughout this gruesome schedule," he said.

Stoudemire, 32, called playing in 68 to 70 games "doable."

"From a scientific standpoint, you need those recovery days for your body in order for you to play at the optimum level," he said. "So you want to be very smart about what we're doing."

Fisher said Stoudemire has had to carry a bigger load than the Knicks had hoped because of injuries to others.

"So hopefully as we get healthy, we won't really have to get into how many games he can play," Fisher said. "I think the balance of the minutes will kind of calibrate a little."

In a word: patience.

New York Sports